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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Who is Qualified to Oversee A Church according to GOD?

Who is Qualified to Oversee A Church according to GOD?

1st Timothy 3:1 Faithful is the saying, If a man desires the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.

A "bishop" is defined by the scriptures as an "overseer", and is one who watches over the "called out ones".
But the modern church has perverted the term "bishop" into a titled "Bishop" position in an ecclesiastical structure unknown in scripture.
We will see the apostles never ordained solo pastors or a priest over the churches.

 The responsibility of an overseer is to watch over, protect, and feed the flock of God. 
Sad to say that today most "elders" are yes-men to a pastor and the "sheep" are meat for their table. The sheep are rarely defended but the wolves and hirelings usually are.

1  Faithful is the saying, Ifman seeks the office of a bishop, he desires a good work.
     (bishop means simply  "overseer")
2   The bishop therefore must be without reproachthe husband of one wifetemperate, sober-minded, orderlygiven to hospitalityapt to teach;
3   no brawlerno striker; but gentlenot contentiousno lover of money;
4   one that rules well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5   (but if a man does not know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6   not a novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7   Moreover he must have good testimony from them that are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 1Tim. 3:1-7

There are twelve masculine nouns and pronouns in that passage. There are no feminine nouns.

In Titus 1, he wrote a second time regarding elders:
 Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that you should set in order the things needed, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed you:

The qualifications for those elders that are to be the "overseers" of the churches:
6)   if any man is blameless, husband of one wife, having children that believe  not accused of riot or unruly.
7)   For the bishop must be blameless, as God`s stewardnot self-willednot soon angry, no brawler, no strikernot greedy of filthy lucre;
8)   but given to hospitality, as lover of goodsober-mindedjust, holyself-controlled;
9)   holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the opposers.

1Peter 5
1)   The elders among you I who am a fellow-elder exhort, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2)   Tend the flock  (i.e. feed the  flock) of God which is among you, exercising oversightnot of constraint, but willinglyaccording to the will of Godnor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3)   neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock.

Although this may upset a few people, the most often repeated qualification begins with the nouns "man" and "he", a total of 14 times.  11 are in 1Timothy and 3 more in Titus.  
Masculine nouns are used repeatedly in multiple verses and is the first qualification specified and is referenced 14x times.

The noun for the office itself "bishop", Greek "episkopos", is also a masculine noun. (Strongs 1985). 
So when the Scriptures speak in terms of the office of an overseer and the elders that rule, it always does so with men. Even the word "pastor" ("poimen" in Greek), is a masculine noun, and there is no such thing as a wife being "co-pastor" or "pastor" over an assembly.

Having swallowed the "red pill" of truth from the Word, let us look at the points Paul gave in 1Timothy 3.
In our 24 years of church involvement and leadership, we never heard these taught or reviewed in regard to the people who were appointed or put in places of leadership.

This is example of how the church departs from scripture as church leaders are usually those who demonstrate loyalty, financial support, natural gifts for speaking, or a willingness to support and volunteer.Pastors are hired.

We also see that among the elders that minister, no one office such as the pastor, prophet, or apostle, is given pre-eminence above the rest. Notice that no titles are mentioned for those exercising oversight of the churches in these qualifications which apply equally to all ministries and the elders. 


1.   without reproach:  not open to censure, irreproachable. He is honest and his word and motive is good. He is not hiding any sin.  
2.   Husband of one wifeHe is a "husband" of one wife. He does not divorce and remarry another, unless the first wife committed adultery,  or she died.
3.   temperate; sober, not given to alcoholic drinks and not a food glutton.
4.   sober-minded: curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate, prudent , sensible
5    orderly:  well arranged, seemly, modest. This speaks of his life not being disorderly or out of control.  
6.   given to hospitality:  He is hospitable and generous to guests. Their home is made comfortable to others and they are made to feel welcome.
7.   able to teach: He is apt and skillful in teaching in order to benefit and spiritualy mature others in the Scriptures.
8.   not a brawler: Not ready for a blow, not a pugnacious, contentious, or quarrelsome person. "Not" means not. Contentious means argumentative. He is peaceable.
9.   no striker: He does not hit others, nor his wife, nor his children. seemingly, suitable
equitable, fair, mild, gentle
10.  gentle:  He is reasonable, listens and considers the words of others. He is equitable, fair, mild, and gentle. He is not over-powering, a bully, overbearing, stubborn, or hard.   
11. not contentiousafter "gentle" comes not contentious again.
That is posturing as not to be withstood, acting as invincible, and abstaining from fighting whether it be with WORDS or ACTIONS
12.  not greedy of moneyHe is free from the love of money, and not given to deals and scams.

13.  one that rules well his own houseHe manages over, superintends, presides over, provides for, and is a protector or guardian
14.  children in subjection with all gravityHis (not adult) children  are under control, obedient, in subjection, submissive.   With dignity: the characteristic of a thing or person which entitles to reverence and respect, dignity, majesty, sanctity,honour, purity.
15.  not a novice: He is not newly planted, a new convert, or neophyte (one who has recently become a Christian. -No matter how gifted they are, sincere, or giving of financial support.
16.  Lest he be puffed up. An imature overseer will try to meet his ego needs through the church. he will imagine himself to be above others, he will think those who disagree are going over his head, he will feel threatened easily.  He will see himself as being something he is not and entitled to things by reason of his position or title.
17. having a good testimony from outsidersHis bills are paid, his word is known to be good, he has a good name and reputation for honesty.

In Titus 1:
18. blameless:   He cannot be called into account, un-reproveable, un-accused, blameless. What if he sins? If he is walking in repentance and forgiveness, he is blameless.  Except from the devil.
19.  husband of one wife:  He is once married unless widowed, and did not divorce for any cause other than adultery by his ex-wife.
20.  children that believe and are not riotous:  His children believe in the Lord and are not those that cannot be subjected to control, disobedient, unruly. His children are not in rebellion.
21.  not self-willed:   He is not self-pleasing, self-willed, arrogant.
22.  not quickly angry:   He is not prone to anger, irascible, hot-headed, fiery, hot tempered. 
23.  not given to wine:   He is not a drunkard, given to wine, or drunken.
24.  no striker:   Not ready for a blow, not a pugnacious, contentious, or quarrelsome person. "Not" means not. Contentious means argumentative. He is peacable.
25.  not greedy of lucre:   He is free from the love of gain, desire for wealth and substance, eager for base gain, or greedy for money.   
26.  given to hospitality:   He is hospitable and generous to guests.
27.  a lover of good,   He is of a sound mind, sane, in one's senses,
curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate
28. sober-minded: He is safe (sound) in mind, that is, self controlled (moderate as to opinion or passion): - discreet, sober, temperate.
29.  just: In a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God
of those who seem to themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves to be righteous, who pride themselves in their virtues, whether real or imagined
innocent, faultless, guiltless
30. holy: undefiled by sin, free from wickedness, religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious.
30.self-controlledstrong, robust, having power over, possessed of (a thing) mastering, controlling, curbing, restraining, controlling one's self, temperate. He can control his apetite.
31. holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching:  He cleaves hard to the Word, the sayings of God, not just in head knowledge, but in action. He speaks as an oracle of God.
32. able to exhort in the sound doctrine:  To refute, comfort, establish, correct, reprove, to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort

In 1Peter 5:1
"The elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder",  the elders are to:
33. tend the flockto feed, to tend a flock, to rule, govern, shepherd
of rulers (overseers)
to furnish pasture for food
to nourish
to cherish one's body, to serve the body
to supply the requisites for the soul's need
34. exercising the oversight:
to look upon, inspect, oversee, look after, take care of the church which rested upon the elders, to look carefully after, beware in regard to protect 
35. not by constraintnot to shepherd and tend by using compulsion or force of title or position. (carnal authority)
36. willinglyof one's own accord, voluntarily. -not as a hireling, but as a volunteer.
37. according to the will of GodAs a man sent from God, according to and from the Will of God, not by men or a Bible College Certificate.
38. nor yet for filthy lucreTo do so NOT for gain, i.e. money. How plain that is. No tithes or salary
39. of a ready mind. eagerness, willingly. Ready to help, work, and of the faith, fully persuaded.
40. neither as lording itNot as to lord against, that is, control,subjugate: - exercise dominion over (lordship), be lord over, overcome.
41. ensamples to the flock an example to be imitated, of men worthy of imitation.

Can you imagine the typical church reading these scriptures from the pulpit?
Deacons were not the titled, name tagged folks with offering plates in the original church.
They were more typically the hosts of the people who met in their homes and they were servants to the church. 
Do you want to see a deacon's role model?  You have the church selecting seven of them in Acts 6, one of whom was Stephen.

"seven men of good report, full of the Spirit and of wisdom",
And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus a proselyte of Antioch;
And Stephen, full of grace and power, wrought great wonders and signs among the people.
Now there's some real deacons, full of FAITH and the Holy Ghost.   

In Summary: we have given the direct instructions and meanings from the scriptures for those holding "positions" in the church. It is very convicting to realize how far our old churches had departed from God's Word on this. Do you realize a pastor is not above correction? Pastors were only one ministry among God's people, they were not singled out as the head of the church.  

What is presented here should make it obvious that the church structure around us is hopelessly departed from the Word of God. It is as it was at the time of Christ when Jesus called His sheep out from the sheepfolds of the false shepherds.. 

Does this list sound like what any elders do that you know?
This is not a life of managing, giving orders, adjusting the thermostat, making announcements, governing as a  CEO.

If we set aside the traditions and look just at scripture, we can see an elder as a vigilant, self-sacrificing, humble, giving, working servant of the flock.
He might be an apostle, he might be a prophet, he might be a teacher, he might be a pastor.
He may be a matured saint in life and spiritual experience.

These older ones could recognize a wolf even when it looked like another shepherd.
These older ones knew how to love, to care for and to feed God's sheep.
 It was not a job for the power-hungry or those seeking position or special privileges.
It was not a call to showcase our name, knowledge, or personality.
It is not a call for those who crave the pre-eminence in an assembly.

The church at Ephesus Paul spoke to in Acts 20, was overseen by elders, not one man.
 The pre-eminent pastors and Nicolaitanes Paul warned about would come later.
He called them "wolves", they would do the very things Paul told them not to do.
If the church did not follow the scriptures, a wolf could come right in and explain why the scriptural qualifications did not mean what they said.
 It happens every day. 

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